Baek Kyung-ran, head of the Central Defense Countermeasures Headquarters (Bangdaebon) (Director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), suggested today (7th) the time to adjust the obligation to wear an indoor mask as January next year at the earliest or March at the latest.

This is an explanation of the schedule for easing mandatory measures, assuming that the criteria for the epidemic situation are met.

Director Baek explained that even if quarantine measures related to the obligation to wear indoor masks are eased, they may remain mandatory in facilities for the protection of high-risk groups.

Headquarters Baek said at a briefing today at Bangdaebon, "We are reviewing a policy to adjust the administrative order and fines for compliance with the quarantine guidelines for wearing masks and gradually implement mask wearing recommendations and voluntary wearing."

"Criteria, targets, methods, etc. are currently being discussed by an expert group," he said.

Headquarters Baek, however, said, "Even if the mandatory mask-wearing measures are converted to recommendations in most rooms, essential facilities for the protection of high-risk groups may still remain mandatory." that,” he added.

Director Baek said, "The reason why the timing of implementation has not been decided is that the current epidemic has not reached a downward trend, that a little more time is needed for the secondary vaccination of the elderly, and that the direction of the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza is unclear." “We will collect expert opinions through a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (Critical Script) presiding and an open debate on the 15th, and finalize the adjustment plan after reviewing the advisory committee.”

Headquarters Baek, however, emphasized, "The infection prevention effect of wearing a mask is clear without controversy," and "many studies conducted before and after the COVID-19 epidemic scientifically prove the effectiveness and necessity of wearing a mask."

Director Baek also introduced the research results that were recently introduced in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

As a result of comparing the incidence of Corona 19 according to whether or not wearing a mask for 294,084 students and 46,530 faculty members in Massachusetts, USA, from February to June 15 weeks, the incidence rate of the school district wearing a mask was 1,000 per 1,000 people. At 66.1, it was less than half of the 134.4 school districts who lifted their mandatory wearing.

Director Baek said, “Wearing a mask is the most basic measure to prevent the spread and reduce the burden on the medical system. "he said.

Headquarters Baek said, "Today's central script fully explained (to local governments) the effect of wearing an indoor mask, and we also requested cooperation so that a single quarantine network can be operated through the central script." It is not a situation where the local government is taking specific measures, so it is not a situation where there will be something to withdraw (the cancellation policy).”

(Photo = Yonhap News)